For months, I’ve been thinking of what I to say about this election. As the campaign season has gone on (and on), and the rhetoric has become more and more divisive, I’ve retreated…away from the politics and the vitriol seen in the U.S. to focus on my work overseas…on some form of action I can take to make the world a bit better when it seems that all people want to do is fight and bicker.
As dawn breaks on Election Day in the U.S., I’m faced with an unfamiliar feeling. More than in any previous election, I am uncomfortable with my vote…more uncomfortable than I’d like to be. And, two weeks ago when I took my ballot to the U.S. Embassy to be mailed home, it was difficult to let my ballot go knowing the vote that I’d cast.
I’m a Republican. It’s part of who I am.
There are few things that I feel truly define me, and Republican — along with Christian, Clemson football fan, and (U.S.) southerner — is one of those things.
I remember how excited I was to vote in my first election. I cast my first ever vote in a presidential election for George W. Bush. A few years later, I would go on to work under President Bush at the White House where I fought for immigration reform, pushed for better education for all children, promoted free trade, and supported our country’s relief and development efforts around the world to end poverty and save lives. I was a compassionate conservative and proud to be a part of the Bush Administration.
Today, when I look at the ballot, I don’t see me or my values anywhere. I don’t see compassionate conservatism. I don’t see the values of the Republican party that I grew up with. And, I don’t really see values that I agree with at all. Today, I see a Republican party desperate. I see disillusioned fellow conservatives who can’t even speak the name of their party’s nominee. I see hatred, racism, and exclusivity in what was once known as the Grand Ole Party with a tent big enough for everyone.
Today, I see a Republican party desperate. I see disillusioned fellow conservatives who can’t even speak the name of their party’s nominee. I see hatred, racism, and exclusivity in what was once known as the Grand Ole Party with a tent big enough for everyone.Today, I see a Republican party that closes its doors rather than opens them. I see a Republican presidential candidate that disrespects women, makes racist comments, acts as a bully, incites violence,
Today, I see a Republican party that closes its doors rather than opens them. I see a Republican presidential candidate that disrespects women, makes racist comments, acts as a bully, incites violence, sows further division, and seemingly does not stand for principles our country was founded on. I see a candidate…and, honestly, an electorate…that only thinks about themselves and what’s best for them — here and now. I don’t see a people who are thinking of others — not just in the U.S. but around the world — of those who depend on our president, our leadership, and our country.
Outside of the Republican party, I also see two other candidates who I don’t feel reflect me either.
There was a time when Gary Johnson may have been a better reflection of the policies and values that are important to me. However, his lack of knowledge and general interest in foreign affairs, have left a bitter taste in my mouth that I can’t get rid of. As much as he may want fewer international entanglements for the U.S., right now, we’re in the midst of many. And, if he were to become president, he would have to be able to lead in those situations. And, unfortunately, I’m not sure that he wants to…or can.
And, then, there’s Hillary Clinton.
Growing up Republican, I was taught early on that the Clintons were to be disliked and not trusted. My memories of the White House in the 1990s are primarily of President Clinton’s scandals and the impeachment trial. However, despite the disdain I came to know was associated with the Clintons, I knew the respect that is intrinsic to the presidency. And, when I later worked at the White House, it became crystal clear to me the importance of respect for the office of the presidency…no matter who is in it — Clinton, Bush, Obama, and so forth.
More important than the personal reservations about the Clintons, there are the policy implications of a Hillary Clinton presidency. In this area, I don’t agree with HillaryClinton on much, including the higher taxes, increased regulations, and additional military interventions that will come with her presidency.
However, I know that Hillary Clinton is a dedicated public servant. I know that she listens to the opinions of those who advise her and to those that she represents. I know that she is educated and has thought about the issues and policies of most importance to our country. I know that she is experienced. And, while I’m not always thrilled with the outcomes of her past work, she knows how to handle the presidency and the many difficulties that come along with it.
So, this November (or really a few weeks ago at the U.S. Embassy), I’m casting my vote for Hillary Clinton.
I stared long and hard at my ballot and, honestly, did hesitate when I put a check-mark by her name. But, this election, the stakes are too high to vote any differently.
I know that I won’t agree with her on everything…probably on most things. And, I’ll continue to raise my voice about the issues of importance to me, which will probably be against her policies. But, as former speechwriter to President George W. Bush, David Frum wrote, “…she is a patriot. She will uphold the sovereignty and independence of the United States. She will defend allies. She will execute the laws with reasonable impartiality. She may bend some rules for her own and her supporters’ advantage. She will not outright defy legality altogether. Above all, she can govern herself; the first indispensable qualification for governing others.”
So, here it is, it’s official: #ImWithHer.